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UN Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention

On April 28th, 2021, the United Nations have adopted the first-ever resolution on drowning prevention, acknowledging the issue for the first time in its 75-year history. This resolution is a major step forward for the fight against drowning on an international level, which the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation is a part of since 2012.

Drowning is a major and often neglected public health issue. Drowning caused 2.5 million deaths in the last decade and is a leading killer of children in many countries. Recalling its resolutions towards the eradication of poverty, the UN recognizes that 90% of drowning deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Drowning is preventable, and scalable solutions exist. Together, governments and institutions can act efficiently to prevent drowning and save lives.

The UN Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention will provide a framework for action against the unacceptable toll of drowning deaths worldwide, presenting a way to make progress within several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN General Assembly encourages all Member States to propose drowning prevention programming in line with World Health Organization recommended interventions (namely barriers, supervision, swim skills, rescue and resuscitation training, boating regulation and managing flood risk and resilience) and to promote drowning prevention public awareness and behaviour-change campaigns.

The resolution proclaims 25 July as World Drowning Prevention Day, which will provide an annual opportunity for all Member States to reflect on lives lost to drowning, to educate about the issue and to commit to positive, practical solutions that promote safety in and around the water.

The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation is delighted by this resolution and hopes that it will yield an impact in the years to come. The primary mission of the Foundation is to save lives and fight against drowning, by supporting and funding educational projects around the world. The Learn to Swim and Water Safety programmes offer theoretical and practical courses to children and adults and raise awareness of the dangers of water.

In 2020 alone, lives were saved thanks to the work of our partners through these programmes: more than 120,000 people, mostly children, learned how to swim and were taught essential water safety knowledge.

The Foundation would like to thank the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a long-time partner who has been instrumental in raising awareness of drowning prevention worldwide. The RNLI played a key role in leading discussions and paving the way for the UN Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention.

The Foundation would also like to thank the Permanent Mission of Monaco to the UN and Ambassador – Permanent Representative H.E. Mrs Isabelle Picco, for their involvement in co-sponsoring the initiative to push this resolution at the General Assembly, advocating Monaco’s goals of sustainable development and social equity.

Together, we can prevent drowning and save lives.